The United States, Britain and France will introduce a resolution to the United Nations Security Council this week that would voice support for the Gulf states’ plan for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down from power.
The resolution follows dubious announcements by Saleh that he would step down “in the coming days,” although predictable caveats were made. The Gulf plan the Security Council will review has been rejected by Saleh three times before.
The US drone attack that assassinated US citizen Anwar al Awlaki in Yemen seems to have renewed US relations with Saleh, as he hoped to parlay the killing to his favor as an example of what a cooperative client state he can run for the US against terrorism. Obama administration officials immediately tempered earlier criticisms and heaped praise of the Saleh regime for this deadly “success.”
Despite near constant US support for the Saleh regime throughout the brutal security crackdown on massive popular protests, the US is not expected to veto the resolution. That is because, in part, the plan gives authority to Saleh to form an opposition-led cabinet and then hand power to his vice president before early elections.
Vice President Abduraboo Mansur Hadi is Washington’s preferred replacement dictator and would likely receive the same type of US support Saleh has enjoyed. Still, everything suggests that Saleh will ignore the hollow UN resolution and continue to play politics in order to stay in power. But Washington will have done its part, voicing support to Saleh’s ouster and then continuing to support him.